Photo: Rioting River Plate Fans
The Argentine fútbol team with the most titles ended a horrible season last weekend, relegated to the B division for the first time in 110 years!
The River Plate, one of the most popular fútbol teams in Argentina, and the one that has won the most local leagues (33), has been demoted from the first division, to the “National B,” or the second division of Argentine soccer.
Relegation is based on an averaging system. At the end of each season, the two teams with the worst three-year averages are relegated from the twenty-team first division, and the best two teams in the Primera B Nacional are promoted. For the first time in its history, River Plate didn’t make the cut to stay in the first division, currently lead by Vélez Sársfield.
The River Plate lost it’s space in the first division after tying 1-1 with the Belgrano, from Córdoba. At the end of the game, furious River fans begun rioting, breaking stadium chairs to hurl pieces at the players.
Argentine soccer authorities had contemplated not allowing an audience for the game, as the game before also ended in violence (River plate fans jumped and tear down the fence to reprimand players for their poor performance); finally they decided to have 2,200 police men looking after the stadium, a number that wasn’t enough to contain the chaos that went on in and outside the stadium once the game ended.
Irate fans broke everything they could find and looted nearby businesses as well as cars in the parking lots; armed with rocks, sticks and pieces of debris, fans attacked journalists, police and soccer club officials. They even set every trashcan they found ablaze.
Fans for the Belgrano team had to wait inside the stadium for several hours before police armed with water tanks managed to control the rioting River Plate fans.